More bears in western Massachusetts? Or just more sightings?

Time of the year has a lot to do with how frequently they are seen

Report It photo courtesy Suebee in Hatfield

HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hatfield residents have started spotting black bears traveling more often through their neighborhood.

One example was a mother bear following her three cubs in a yard Wednesday. A 22News viewer sent us photos of this bear encounter through our Report It feature.

It’s not just mother bears and cubs that are showing up, however, adult male black bears have also been sighted in Hatfield on occasion.

Mama bear keeps close eye on 3 cubs in Hatfield

Police Lt. Michael Dekoschak told 22News that it is not that there are more bears in the neighborhood, people are just seeing them come through more often.

“It’s the timing that people see more bears: earlier in the springtime, we tend to see more bears looking for food. They’re obviously coming down to raid trash cans and dumpsters,” Dekoschak said.

When you see a bear, leave it alone. Seeing a mother bear is a signal that cubs may be nearby.

Be sure not to leave trash exposed or your pets unattended.